• Default retirement age abolished – On 6 April 2011 it became unlawful for an employer to compulsorily retire an employee unless the retirement age can be objectively justified. However, retirement procedures which had commenced by this date will be covered by transitional provisions. For employers who wish to rely on the transitional provision in any respect, the last date on which a notice of retirement could be given to an employee under the DRA regime was 5 April 2011. Please see our March Update for more details.  
  • Equality Act 2010 – A number of provisions contained in the Equality Act 2011 came into effect on 6 April 2011. These provisions include positive action in recruitment and promotion (section 159) and public sector equality duties (section 149).  
  • Additional paternity leave and pay – On 3 April 2011, the right to additional paternity leave for parents of babies born on or after this date was introduced. This right extends to adoptive parents who are informed that they have been matched with a child for adoption on or after this date.  
  • Statutory payments rates – On 3 April 2011 we saw an increase in various statutory payment rates. Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption and sick pay and maternity allowance increased from £124.88 to £128.73.  
  • Termination payments taxation – On 6 April 2011, it became compulsory for employers to use the 0T PAYE code for post-P45 payments. This will impact the amount of income tax the employer must withhold on termination of employment. The employer must now deduct PAYE at the full 20%, 40% and 50% rates. Prior to 6 April 2011, the employer would deduct PAYE at the basic 20% rate. The employee may claim back the tax in his or her tax return at the end of that tax year.  
  • Migration cap – A permanent migration cap was introduced on 6 April 2011. This has restricted the number of certain non-EU immigrants entering the UK to work.  

And finally:  

  • Bribery Act 2010 – The Ministry of Justice has published its long-awaited guidance on the Bribery Act. The Act will come into force on 1 July 2011. Employers should ensure that they have in place adequate procedures to train employees on anti-bribery policies and enforce them. Criminal sanctions apply if the Act is breached.